Luxury brands in Europe and the U.S. are looking forward to a robust 2022 following 18 months of strong sales, even in the midst of the pandemic.
As Bloomberg reports, luxury goods sales are projected to increase as much as 25% next year compared to 2019, compared to just 5% in the non-luxury fashion industry. Most of this expansion will come from shoppers in China, although American consumers remain crucial, the report says.
Many of the changes brands adopted during the pandemic appear to be permanent, whether that means expanding their eCommerce offerings or opening brick-and-mortar locations in new cities, per the report.
The news outlet cited the example of brands using platforms like Roblox to allow customers to dress their online avatars.
“Luxury brands need to start to test-and-learn in this space,” Sarah Willersdorf, global head of luxury at Boston Consulting Group, told Bloomberg.
Read more: Brands Bet Big on Sales in the Metaverse
We’ve reported on a few examples of this before. For example, Nike shoppers can visit the brand’s corner of Roblox and wear apparel such as Air Force 1 and Nike Blazer sneakers. The sneaker titan has a showroom devoted to selling this virtual merchandise, much like the Nike stores that thousands of real-world shoppers around the world.
Sometimes, virtual merchandise can be in extremely high demand, or — in one specific case — cost more than its physical counterpart.
In May, a virtual Gucci bag sold for less than $6 before being resold for astronomically higher prices, at one point going as high as $4,115. The average price for the bag eventually ended up at $1,578, slightly higher than a real-world Gucci purse.
Meanwhile, other brands are opening new stores in the U.S. to offset what they expect will be a long-term drop in global tourism due to the COVID pandemic.
“The future of luxury is going to be much more domestic,” Anita Balchandani, a partner at McKinsey, told Bloomberg.